Florida Panthers have big plans for Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A major makeover is happening at Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium and the Florida Panthers are bankrolling the change.

The Panthers are now one step closer to replacing the controversial gun show at War Memorial Auditorium.

They're looking to spend a pretty penny to do it, too, and are planning to renovate the place owned by the city of Fort Lauderdale. 

"We know that they're coming to us with a proposal -- quite a hefty proposal -- to spend upwards of maybe $40 million to $50 million," Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steven Glassman said. 

The Panthers want to expand the space and grow, according to Glassman. 

"They're ready to renovate the inside and basically create indoor facilities for children to play indoor soccer, lacrosse and other activities inside," Glassman said. "And then, in addition also creating a building in the rear just to the east of the structure where we'll have two sheets of ice -- two ice rinks." 

The city would be leasing the space, charging only $1 a year for possibly 50 years, but the renovations would be paid for, which would save the city the upkeep.

"First of all, it saves the city money in paying for capital improvements that it would otherwise be responsible for," Mayor Dean Trantalis said.

Trantalis said he believes this would build up Holiday Park, as well.

The Panthers would revamp the area and they'd promote the team, the sport and various sporting activities. 

Until recently, the auditorium was regularly used for the Florida Gun and Knife Show, which had drawn a lot controversy. 

City leaders said they had to go and the gun show filed suit. 

There's now a big legal battle still brewing over that.

"We just did not feel as a commission that that gun show was an appropriate activity in the middle of a park," Glassman said. 

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